Maintenance to Mission
The weekend of May 19-20, we ended the Easter season with the grand celebration of Pentecost. Besides being the birthday of the Church, it is also a colorful day here at Prince of Peace as many worshippers come to Mass clad in flame colors: red, yellow, orange. These, bespeak the experience of the first believers when the Holy Spirit came in winds and in tongues of fire to create the Church (Acts 2:1-4).
After being filled with the Holy Spirit, the career fisherman Peter preached a Word of challenge, instruction, invitation, and inspiration that set his hearers on fire (Acts 2). We see an excited and exciting Church, alive in the Risen Christ and the life of the Holy Spirit.
Sometime between then and now, a lot of the Church has drifted from this sense of power and Mission to a life of maintenance.
What is maintenance? It is people who sit in a pew each Sunday and believe that it defines them as good Catholics. It is parishes spending great resources offering religion classes for elementary school children and next to nothing for the formation of adults. It is Catholics who receive the Eucharist every week and never seem to change. It is local faith communities who become stirred up over potholes in their parking lots and never shed a tear over the number of fellow believers disconnected from their Church community and its ministry.
Maintenance is about the status quo.
As your pastor, I am more and more conscious of God’s call to us to be in Mission: where we “GO,” like scripture commands, to encounter people instead of waiting for them to come to us. In these next five years, I have a responsibility to you and to our bishop to lead and serve in a way that goes beyond the status quo and focuses ever more on helping people to come alive in their faith.
It’s a bottom-up approach, starting with me as your Pastor, including staff structure, responsibilities, and the evaluation of who we are at Prince of Peace. We must be outward focused, primarily preoccupied with those who are not here; this must become the standard by which we measure our fruitfulness.
Prince of Peace has become the first parish in our archdiocese to affiliate with the Divine Renovation Network and their vision for renewal. Pray for our parish, that we will move more authentically from maintenance to Mission. Pray for your pastor and parish leadership. And, above all, pray for yourself: ask God for a more profound faith and a more vibrant relationship with him. It’s a prayer he can never refuse.
“I dream of a “missionary option,” that is, a missionary impulse capable of transforming everything, so that the Church’s customs, ways of doing things, times and schedules, language and structures can be suitability channeled for the evangelization of today’s world rather than for her self-preservation”
– (Pope Francis, EG 27)